toddler discipline

The other day, the munchkin and I were hanging out with our neighborhood buddies. Our neighborhood rocks and I love the fact that we are surrounded by other awesome families that are all passionate about parenting.

All of that said our parenting styles are as different as our girls, which is magnified in the presence of our daughters. I tend to be the parent watching my kiddo’s every move, constantly intervening and trying to guide her to make good choices. I'm one of those parents who believe if you show your child the bar, they will rise to it. Another of these parents is more laid back, and allows their daughter to find her own way.

In practice, these varying parenting styles can sometimes make for uncertainty when it comes to how, and whether or not, to correct another child in the group’s behavior.

Take the word “poopy-head” for instance.

When did the word “poopy-head” become so funny? Oh yes, during the toddler and early preschool years. The uttering of this word brings on fits of non-stop giggles amongst our girls.

As an educator, I get it; the word “poopy-head” is new, it sounds funny. It is funny to talk about poop (well, at least when you are little it is) and It gets a reaction. As language develops, it's only natural for kiddos to try it out and explore it. That is the magic of development.

The question is; when is it appropriate to use the word and when is it not?

To me, “poopy-head” is bathroom language. I stand firm (I know, I sound like an old geezer here) in communicating to my child that if she wishes to use the word “poopy-head,” we can go into the bathroom and she can say it as often, and for as long, as she would like. I'm happy to talk bathroom talk, in the bathroom.

What about you?

How do you handle such words?

toddler discipline

Do you let them go or make them stop?

Although my munchkin quickly caught on that her use of the word “poopy-head” needed to cease, another of the kiddos continued and thus so did the squeals.

Now what?

Do you ignore the behavior and hope that three little girls will soon grow bored?

Do you intervene and correct another child who is not your own?

As for me, I chose the “re-engage and re-direct” tactic. It was time to talk about something new; the festival that would soon be coming with the chocolate chip cookies that would be a sweet treat after dinner was finished. It was time to talk about all the other silly things in the world, except for “poopy-heads.”

Luckily, in this case, re-direction and re-engagement seemed to work. The behavior stopped and the evening continued in peace. The diversity of our parenting styles also remained respected.

Do you parent differently than your family and friends and, if so, how do you handle situations in which you believe a child should stop engaging in a particular behavior?


What do you think?


Jeannie Fleming-Gifford is a mama to one little lady, freelance writer, and the director of education for a non-profit community school of the arts. Graduating with a B.A. in Music and a M.A. in Child Development, Jeannie began her career in quality child development programs as a teacher, then moved into creative administrative roles with science centers, symphony orchestras and arts programs. Owner of 170+ year old house, Jeannie loves living in small town America where walks to the park and ... More

Tell us what you think!


Send this to a friend